Title:
Modular form for building a preinsulated, roughly finished concrete wall and method of building a structure therewith
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system of building modules that may readily be assembled into wall structures that, when filled with concrete forms an insulated, roughly-finished wall structure ready to receive both exterior and interior wall treatments. The building modules may readily be assembled by relatively untrained personnel and forms walls typically having an overall R-value in the range of approximately 30. The novel building modules eliminate the need for setting traditional concrete forms and of finishing a bare concrete wall. The modules are provided in various lengths, the lengths typically being multiples of 16 inches.



Inventors:
Hicks, Brian D. (Suffolk, VA, US)
Application Number:
12/288114
Publication Date:
04/22/2010
Filing Date:
10/17/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/745.09
International Classes:
E04B2/86
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HIJAZ, OMAR F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WILLIAMS G. SYKES (VIRGINIA BEACH, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A building module adapted for modular construction of an insulated, lost form concrete wall, comprising: a) an elongated rectangular parallelepiped having a first vertical side, a second, substantially parallel vertical side disposed apart therefrom, a top member and a bottom member both joining said first vertical side and said second, substantially parallel vertical side, said first vertical side, said second vertical side, said top member and said bottom member bounding a hollow interior region within said elongated rectangular parallelepiped; b) at least two horizontal support strips disposed within said hollow interior region substantially parallel to a major axis thereof and attached to least one of said first vertical side, and said second vertical side adjacent at least one of said top member and said bottom member; c) sheet insulation attached to an inward-facing surface of said at least two horizontal support strips, said insulation sheet forming an air cavity between itself and an inner surface of at least one of said first vertical side and said second vertical side; and d) an opening sized and configured to-receive poured concrete in said interior region disposed in at least one of said top member and said bottom member.

2. The building module adapted for modular construction of an insulated, lost form concrete wall as recited in claim 1, further comprising: e) an end sealing member disposed substantially perpendicular to each of said first vertical side, said second vertical side, said top member, and said bottom member proximate at least one of a distal end, and a proximal end of said building module.

3. The building module adapted for modular construction of an insulated, lost form concrete wall as recited in claim 1, further comprising: e) means for supporting rebar disposed in at least one of said top member and said bottom member.

4. The building module adapted for modular construction of an insulated, lost form concrete wall as recited in claim 3, wherein said means for supporting rebar comprises a first through-hole in said top member and a second through-hole in said bottom member, said first through-hole and said second through-hole being aligned to define an axis substantially perpendicular to a major surface of said top member and substantially parallel to said first vertical side and said second vertical side.

5. The building module adapted for modular construction of an insulated, lost form concrete wall as recited in claim 1, further comprising: e) means for sealing a first of said building modules to a second adjacent one of said building modules to prevent egress of concrete poured into said interior region.

6. The building module adapted for modular construction of an insulated, lost form concrete wall as recited in claim 5, wherein said means for sealing comprises means for sealing an end surface of said building module to and end surface of a second building module abutted thereto.

7. The building module adapted for modular construction of an insulated, lost form concrete wall as recited in claim 5, wherein said means for sealing comprises means for sealing at least one of a top surface and a bottom surface of a first building module to at least one of a top surface and a bottom surface of a second building module vertically aligned with and adjacent to said first building module.

8. The building module adapted for modular construction of an insulated, lost form concrete wall as recited in claim 5, wherein said means for sealing comprises means at least one of the group: a tongue-and-groove seal, and a groove and spline arrangement.

9. The building module adapted for modular construction of an insulated, lost form concrete wall as recited in claim 1, wherein said building module comprises a corner building module comprising a first portion and a second portion contiguous with and orthogonal to said first portion.

10. The building module adapted for modular construction of an insulated, lost form concrete wall as recited in claim 1, wherein each of said first vertical side, said second vertical side, said top member, and said bottom member comprise pressure treated plywood or other building material.

11. The building module adapted for modular construction of an insulated, lost form concrete wall as recited in claim 10, wherein each of said first vertical sides, and said second vertical side have a nominal thickness of approximately ¾ inch.

12. The building module adapted for modular construction of an insulated, lost form concrete wall as recited in claim 10, wherein each of said top member and said bottom member have a nominal thickness of approximately ½ inch.

13. The building module adapted for modular construction of an insulated, lost form concrete wall as recited in claim 1, wherein said at least two horizontal support strips comprises pressure treated lumber having a nominal dimension of approximately 1×2 inches.

14. A method of erecting a concrete wall, the steps comprising: a) providing a foundation adapted to receive a modular, insulated, lost concrete form; b) attaching a U-bracket to said foundation; c) providing a plurality of building modules adapted for modular construction of an insulated, lost form concrete wall, each of said building modules comprising a hollow, rectangular parallelepiped adapted to receive concrete in a hollow interior region thereof, each of said building modules comprising at least two horizontal support strips disposed within said hollow interior region substantially parallel to a major axis thereof and attached to least one of a first vertical side, and a second vertical side adjacent at least one of a top member and a bottom member and comprising sheet insulation attached to an inward-facing surface of said at least two horizontal support strips, said insulation sheet forming an air cavity between itself and an inner surface of at least one of said first vertical side and said second vertical side; and an opening sized and configured to receive poured concrete in said interior region disposed in at least one of said top member and said bottom member; d) placing a first course of said plurality of building modules in said U-channel; e) placing subsequent courses of said plurality of said building modules to define at least one wall structure; f) upon completion of said at least one-wall structure, placing alignment braces on an interior face of said at least one wall structure; and g) filling said at least one wall structure with concrete.

15. The method of erecting a concrete wall as recited in claim 14, wherein said providing step (c) comprises providing at least one building module comprising a corner building module comprising a first portion and a second portion contiguous with and orthogonal to said first portion.

16. The method of erecting a concrete wall as recited in claim 15, wherein said placing step (d) comprises placing said at least one building module comprising a corner building module comprising a first portion and a second portion contiguous with and orthogonal to said first portion.

17. The method of erecting a concrete wall as recited in claim 15, the steps further comprising: h) inserting a spline into a groove disposed in a surface of a first building module and a corresponding groove disposed in an adjacent surface of a second building module.

18. A building module adapted for modular construction of an insulated, lost form concrete wall, comprising: a) a pair of vertical members each having an identical vertical height and an identical length; b) at least two U-shaped spacer bars each having an elongated, central surface and a pair of end surfaces perpendicular thereto, said U-shaped spacer bar having inward-facing spikes disposed in said elongated central surface proximate each of said end surfaces, a first of said pair of end surfaces of each of said at least two U-shaped spacer bars being proximate an outside surface of a first of said pair of vertical members, a second of said pair of end surfaces of each of said at least two U-shaped spacer bars being abutted to an outside surface of second of said pair of vertical members, said inward-facing spikes engaging at least a portion of an edge of each of said first vertical member and said second vertical member.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention pertains to forms for forming concrete-filled walls and, more particularly, to modular, preinsulated forms readily assembled and adapted to receive concrete therein. The modular forms create a concrete-filled wall having a rough finish on both an interior and exterior surface, thereby allowing ready finishing of these surfaces.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The process of forming vertical walls from poured concrete has been known for centuries. The process, while theoretically simple, typically requires highly skilled laborers and expensive forms to accomplish. Forms may be either built for single use or may be formed from modular sections assembled to the required configuration. Upon curing of the concrete wall poured therein, the reusable forms are typically removed and stored for later use on another project.

Insulated concrete walls are sometimes constructed using form assemblies having insulation disposed as a part of the form. The form becomes part of the concrete wall. This type of construction is typically referred to as lost form construction.

Regardless of the type of form utilized to construct a poured concrete wall, two major problems remain. First, the construction or assembly of forms typically requires skilled labor and is time intensive. When forms are not properly constructed or set, finished walls may be out of square or plumb, be of the wrong dimension, and/or have bulges or other abnormalities. It is not uncommon for it to be necessary to destroy one or more of the poured walls, reset the forms, and re-pour the concrete. This results in further expense as well as delays in the construction project.

The second problem is that poured concrete walls constructed using forms of the prior art are notoriously difficult to finish.

DISCUSSION OF THE RELATED ART

Many attempts have been made to overcome one or more of the aforementioned deficiencies in the concrete wall formations processes of the prior art. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 1,892,605 for WALL CONSTRUCTION, issued Dec. 27, 1932 to Paul Betzler provides a series of interlocking components to facilitate constructing a hollow wall structure. The hollow wall may, optionally, be filled with concrete, the interlocking block wall constituting a lost form.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,410,044 for FOAMED PLASTIC BASED CONSTRUCTION ELEMENTS, issued Nov. 12, 1968 to Gerhard W. Moog provides construction elements that may be stacked and then, optionally, be filled with concrete. Interlocking blocks are optionally provided by MOOG.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,552,076 for CONCRETE FORM, issued Jan. 5, 1971 to Werner K. H. Gregori, discloses a self-supporting concrete form of low-density foamed polymer. Once in place, concrete may be poured into the hollow central space in the form. The forms become part of the finished concrete wall.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,075,808 for BUILDING CONSTRUCTION SYSTEM USING MORTAR-LESS MODULAR BUILDING BLOCK ELEMENTS, issued Feb. 28, 1978 to Sanford Pearlman teaches another set of interlocking form block useful for laying up a modular from for filling with concrete.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,924,641 for POLYMER BUILDING WALL FORM CONSTRUCTION, issued May 15, 1990 to James H. Gibbar, Jr.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,038,541 for POLYMER BUILDING WALL FORM CONSTRUCTION, issued Aug. 13, 1991 to James H. Gibbar, Jr. provides a form system wherein prefabricated polymer forms are assembled together and spaced apart by integrally connecting polymer blocks, spacers or spool means. The forms may then be erected on a foundation.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,107,648 for INSULATED WALL CONSTRUCTION, issued Apr. 28, 1992 to Edward F. Roby teaches an insulated form system wherein the thickness of the wall may be varied.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,323,578 for PREFABRICATED FORMWORK, issued Jun. 28, 1994 to Claude Chagnon et al. provides a prefabricated, collapsible formwork assembly.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,311,718 for FORM FOR USE IN FABRICATING WALL STRUCTURES AND A WALL STRUCTURE FABRICATION SYSTEM EMPLOYING SAID FORM, issued May 17, 1994 to Jan P. V. Trousilek discloses plastic prefabricated form system.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,570,550 for INSULATED WALL CONSTRUCTION, issued Nov. 5, 1996 to Edward F. Roby teaches another insulated form system wherein the thickness of the wall may be varied.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,625,989 for METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR FORMING OF A POURED CONCRETE WALL, issued May 6, 1977 to Thomas R. Brubaker et al. discloses a form system wherein two identically configured panel members each define slots adapted to receive interconnecting flanges of connecting members.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,860,262 for PERMANENT PANELIZED MOLD APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR CASTING MONOLITHIC CONCRETE STRUCTURES IN SITU, issued Jan. 19, 1999 to Frank K. Johnson teaches an interconnectable system of panels useful for casting a concrete wall.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,170,220 for INSULATED CONCRETE FORM, issued Jan. 9, 2001 to James Daniel Moore, Jr. shows an insulated concrete form system having at least one longitudinally-extending side panel and at least one web member partially disposed in the side panel.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,178,711 for COMPACTLY-SHIPPED SITE-ASSEMBLED CONCRETE FORMS FOR PRODUCING VARIABLE-WIDTH INSULATED SIDEWALL FASTENER-RECEIVING BUILDING WALLS, issued Jan. 30, 2001 to Andrew Laird et al. discloses a form system of polymer sheets (e.g., polyurethane or expanded polystyrene) that may be fabricated on site to provide concrete forms.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,263,628 for LOAD BEARING BUILDING COMPONENT AND WALL ASSEMBLY METHOD, issued Jul. 24, 2001 to John Griffin G. E. Steel Company provides a panelized from system that may be erected and then filled with concrete.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,321,498 for FORMWORK FOR BUILDING WALLS, issued Nov. 27, 2001 to Salvatore Trovato teaches a formwork consisting of a plurality of pairs of facing panels connected together to form an inside space to receive concrete.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,363,683 for INSULATED CONCRETE FORM, issued Apr. 2, 2002 to James Daniel Moore, Jr. provides another insulated concrete form system having at least one longitudinally-extending side panel and at least one web member partially disposed in the side panel.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,438,918 for LATCHING SYSTEM FOR COMPONENTS USED IN FORMING CONCRETE STRUCTURES, issued Aug. 27, 2002 to James Daniel Moore, Jr. et al provides latching mechanisms for frictionally holding connectors or the like in position within a concrete form assembly.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,691,481 for CORNER FORM FOR MODULAR INSULATING CONCRETE FORM SYSTEM, issued Feb. 17, 2004 to Donald L. Schmidt provides a corner form module.

Published United States Patent Application No. for INSULATED CONCRETE FORM SYSTEMS AND METHODS OF MAKING AND USING THE SAME, published Dec. 15, 2005 upon application by Kenneth Franklin discloses a from system wherein flat insulating panels are tied together by a plurality of tying members.

Published United States Patent Application No. for ASSEMBLAGE CONCRETE FORMS AND METHOD FOR MANUFACTURING THEREOF, published May 3, 2007 upon application by Qinjiang Zhu discloses from form system where steel mesh plates and a plurality of joining pieces in cooperation with insulating sheets are assembled to construct a concrete form.

None of the patents and published patent applications, taken singly, or in any combination are seen to teach or suggest the novel building module form units of the present invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the present invention there is provided a novel system of building modules that may readily be assembled into wall structures that, when filled with concrete, form a roughly-finished wall structure ready to receive both exterior and interior wall treatments. The modules may readily be assembled by relatively untrained personnel. Finished walls constructed using the novel building modules typically have an overall R-value in the range of approximately 30. The novel building modules eliminate the need for setting traditional concrete forms and for finishing bare concrete walls.

In an alternate embodiment, the outer walls of the building modules may be shipped to a building site where they may be assembled using metal width bars in lieu of solid top and bottom members. This may reduce the bulk and weight of the building modules being delivered to a construction site.

It is, therefore, an object of the invention to provide a building module that may be combined with other like building modules to create a pre-insulated, lost form concrete wall.

It is another object of the invention to provide a building module that is readily assembled into a form for receiving concrete by relatively untrained personnel.

It is an additional object of the invention to provide a building module for constructing a pre-insulated, lost form concrete wall that is readily finishable on both an interior and an exterior surface.

It is a further object of the invention to provide a building module for constructing a pre-insulated, lost form concrete wall that, when finished, has an R-value of approximately 30.

It is an additional object of the invention to provide a building module for constructing a pre-insulated, lost form concrete wall that achieves a high R-values using a combination of insulating materials and air spaces while minimizing the amount of insulating material.

It is a still further object of the invention to provide a building module in varied lengths, typical lengths being multiples of 16 inches.

It is yet another object of the invention to provide a building module that utilizes metal spacing bars in lieu of solid top and bottom members.

It is an additional object of the invention to provide a building module that my be shipped knocked down to a construction site and assembled thereat.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Various objects, features, and attendant advantages of the present invention will become more fully appreciated as the same becomes better understood when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference characters designate the same or similar parts throughout the several views, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a building module in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 2 is an end elevational view of the building module of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of a corner building module in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 4 is a detailed view of a portion of end, elevational view of FIG. 2 showing spline-receiving grooves;

FIGS. 5a-5d are schematic elevational views showing the layout of a front, right side, back, and left side of a typical building constructed using the building modules of FIGS. 1-3;

FIG. 6 is cross-sectional view of a typical wall constructed using the building modules of FIGS. 1-3;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a spacing bar used to form building modules in an alternate embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 8 is an exploded end view of a building module being formed using the spacing bar of FIG. 7; and

FIG. 9 is a top plan view of a corner building module constructed using the spacing bar of FIG. 7.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present invention provides a system of modular building units that may be readily assembled and used to construct an insulated, roughly-finished concrete-filled wall. The modular building units are adapted to receive both exterior and interior wall surface treatments.

In the United States as well as other localities, standardized dimensions for construction have emerged over the years. For example, sheet materials such as plywood, wallboard, particleboard, etc. are typically supplied in 4-foot widths and 4, 8, 10, or 12-foot lengths. Many building codes require that studs (i.e., upright vertical posts in a building framework or wall) typically be placed on 16-inch centers, a spacing that conveniently accommodates standard 4-foot wide panels. Other such standard measurements for window widths and heights, door widths and heights, etc. have also emerged. The building modules of the present invention are sized and configured to accommodate such standard dimensions.

Referring first to FIGS. 1 and 2, there are shown top plan and side elevational schematic views, respectively of a typical building module in accordance with the present invention, generally at reference number 100. Top and bottom members 104a, 104b, along with vertical members 102a, 102b define and enclose a structure having the general form of a rectangular parallelepiped.

Typically, pressure treated plywood is used to form vertical members 102a, 102b and top and bottom member 104a, 104b, respectively. As used herein in, the term “pressure treated” is intended to encompass any wood treatment method or material wherein the wood is protected from rot, fungus, insect attack, or any other similar wood-degrading conditions. In the embodiment chosen for purposes of disclosure, a nominal thickness of ¾ inch has been found satisfactory for vertical members 102a, 102b and ½ inch nominal thickness for top and bottom members 104a, 104b, respectively. It will be recognized by those of skill in the art that other materials, dimensions or treatments may be chosen to meet a particular operating circumstance or environment. Consequently, the invention is not considered limited to the particular materials, dimensions, or treatments chosen for purposes of disclosure. For example, polymers, metals, fiberglass, etc. may all be substituted for plywood chosen for purposes of disclosure.

Top horizontal support strips 106a, 106b and bottom horizontal support strips 108a, 108b are fastened in respective top and bottom corners adjacent the points of intersection of respective top member 104a and vertical members 102a and 102b as well as bottom member 104b and vertical members 102a and 102b. In the embodiment chosen for purposes of disclosure, a pressure treated 1×2 “nailer” strip has been found suitable for the application. In alternate embodiments ¾″ spacers may be substituted for horizontal support strips 106a, 106b and bottom horizontal support strips 108a, 108b.

Foam insulation sheets 110a, 110b are attached to inward-facing surfaces of horizontal support strips 106a, 108a and 106b, 108b, respectively. Insulation sheets 110a, 110b are typically polyisocyanurate insulation. An exemplary insulation is Thermax® manufactured by Dow Building Solution division of Dow Chemical. Foam sheets 110a, 110b may be attached to vertical members 102a, 102b, respectively, using a suitable adhesive or any other suitable attachment method such as caulk, small nails or screws, or other similar fasteners believed to be known to those of skill in the art.

Air spaces 112a, 112b are formed between respective surfaces of insulation sheets 110a, 110b, and vertical members 102a, 102b.

Holes 114 and half-holes 116 are provided to receive rebar 614 (FIG. 6) when building modules are assembled in the manner described in detail hereinbelow.

Openings 118 are provided in top and bottom members 104a, 104b, respectively, to allow pouring concrete into the central, interior space remaining within building modules 100. The assembly and filling of multiple building modules 100 is described in detail hereinbelow.

Optional end members 122a, 122b may be provided to seal an end of building module 100, 200 when a window or door opening (see FIGS. 5a-5d) is to be left in the wall being constructed.

It will be recognized by those of skill in the art that commercially available foam backed plywood may be used for form vertical members 102a, 102b, thereby eliminating the step of applying foam insulation 106a, 106b to the vertical members 102a, 102b formed from non-foambacked plywood or other materials.

Each building module 100 has an overall length “L” 120 typically chosen to be a multiple of 16 inches, for example, 16″, 32″, 48″, 64″, 80″, 96″, etc. It will be recognized that other lengths may be provided as needed to construct a particular wall configuration.

While a 16″ fundamental length has been chosen for purposes of disclosure, it will be recognized that other fundamental module lengths compatible with building codes, practices, or traditions in regions other than the United States may be substituted therefore. Consequently, the invention is not limited to the particular dimensions chosen for purposes of disclosure.

Referring now also to FIG. 3, there is shown top plan view of a building module 200 adapted for forming corners in cooperation with building module 100. Vertical members 202a and 202d are disposed in a mutually orthogonal relationship, meeting at outside corner 204. Likewise, vertical members 202b and 202c are mutually orthogonal and meet at an inside corner 206.

A substantially square member 208 is provided to help join vertical members 202a and 202d. Dimensions of square member 208 are chosen to be compatible with the interior construction of building module 200.

Top horizontal support strips 210a, 210b, 210c, 210d and corresponding bottom horizontal support strips, not shown, are fastened in respective top and bottom corners 204, 206 to respective vertical members 202a, 202b, 202c, 202d. In the embodiment chosen for purposes of disclosure, pressure treated 1×2 “nailer” strips have been found suitable for the application. Spacers may be substituted for horizontal support strips 210a, 210b, 210c, 210d. ¾″ diameter spacers have been found suitable for the application although other similar spacers may be substituted therefore.

Foam insulation sheets 212a, 212b, 212c, 212d are attached to inward-facing surfaces of horizontal support strips 210a, 210b, 210c, 210d and corresponding bottom horizontal support strips, not shown, respectively.

Air spaces 214a, 214b, 214c, 214d are formed between respective inner surfaces of insulation sheets 212a, 212b, 212c, 212d, and vertical members 202a, 202b, 202c, 202d.

Holes 216 and half-holes 218 are provided to receive rebar 614 (FIG. 6) when building modules are assembled in the manner described in detail hereinbelow.

Openings 220a, 220b, 220c, 220d are provided in top member 222 and a corresponding bottom member, not shown, to allow pouring concrete into the central space remaining within building modules 200. The assembly and filling of multiple building modules 100, 200 is described in detail hereinbelow.

Building modules 100, 200 are adapted for interconnection, both top-to-bottom and end-to-end. Because, while building modules 100, 200 are structural elements in their own right, they rely upon a concrete core for final structural integrity. However, until filled, they must be viewed as concrete forms. Consequently, it is important that block-to-block sealing be maintained to avoid concrete blow out during the concrete pouring process. To accomplish this necessary sealing, each building module 100, 200 may be equipped with grooves to accommodate a spline or a tongue-and-groove arrangement.

Referring now to FIG. 4, there is shown an enlarged portion of a side elevational view of a corner region of building module 100, 200. Grooves 402 and 406 are formed in the end surfaces of top member 104a and vertical member 102b, respectively. When the illustrated surface is abutted with a second building module 100, not shown, grooves 402 and 406 align with corresponding grooves, not shown, in the second building module 100, 200. Splines, not shown, are then received in corresponding grooves 402 and 406 thereby creating a seam capable of preventing concrete blowout during the pouring process as described in detail hereinbelow.

Likewise, grooves 404 and 408 are provided in the top surface of top member 104a and along the top edge of vertical member 102b, respectively, to allow sealing the building module 100, 200 to a corresponding building module, not shown, placed above the illustrated building module 100, 200. Grooves 404, 408 also receive splines, not shown, during assembly to prevent concrete blowout along horizontal seams between adjacent building modules 100, 200.

It will be recognized that inter-module sealing may not be necessary in certain operating environments. Therefore, such structures as grooves, tongues, and splines may be eliminated.

It will be recognized that in alternate embodiments, building modules 100, 200 could be provided with a tongue-and-groove sealing system replacing the groove and spline system chosen for purposes of disclosure. Consequently, the invention is not considered limited to the groove and spline system chosen for purposes of disclosure but includes tongue-and-groove sealing systems as well.

As previously stated, building modules 100, 200 are adapted to be assembled into a desired wall configuration. Referring now to FIGS. 5a-5d, there are shown front, right-side, rear, and left-side elevational views, respectively of a small building illustrating the use of the novel building modules 100, 200 in accordance with the invention. The terms front, right side, etc. are, of course, arbitrary.

In FIG. 5a, a door 502 and a window 504 are shown. In FIG. 5b, an “overhead” or garage door 506 may be placed. In FIG. 5c, two windows 508, 510 are shown. In FIG. 5d, a single window 512 is shown. The presence and/or placements of door 502, windows 504, 508, 510 and 512, and overhead door 506 is arbitrary and only used to illustrate the flexibility of using building modules 100, 200 in varying lengths.

Referring now to FIG. 6, there is shown a cross sectional, elevational view of a typical wall built in accordance with the building modules and method of the present invention, generally at reference number 600.

Building modules 100, 200 are designed for ease of use by persons of minimum skill. The procedure for erecting a building is first, an appropriate footer 602 is placed in accordance with local building codes or accepted practices using conventional techniques.

Next, U-shaped starting channels 604 are secured to footer 602, typically using bolts 606 embedded in footer 602 and secured with nuts 608 to the footer 602. U-shaped channels 604 are typically placed at all seams of building modules 100, 200 and at least every 4 feet along the footer 602. U-shaped channels 604 are bolted or otherwise fastened to footer 602 using techniques believed to be well known to those of skill in the art. Consequently, such techniques are not further discussed herein.

Once U-shaped channels 604 are in place, building modules 100, 200 are placed within U-shaped channels 604 in a pattern such as one of the patterns of FIGS. 5a-5d.

As each building module 100, 200 is abutted to its neighbor, a spline, not shown is inserted in grooves 402, 406 (FIG. 4) as discussed hereinabove. Corner building modules 200 (FIG. 3) are used to form corners.

When a first course of building modules 100, 200 is complete, a spline, not shown, is inserted into grove 408. As each building module 100, 200 is placed above a lower course, the spline, not shown, forms a guide to align the next course of building modules 100, 200.

When all courses of building modules 100, 200 are laid up, rebar 614 may be placed vertically through-holes 114, 116, 216 and 218.

Vertical alignment braces 616 are attached to the surface facing the interior of the building being constructed using building modules 100, 200. Typically 2×2 material disposed on 16″ centers is used. The vertical alignment braces 616 become the “studs” for later attaching an interior finish layer 620 to the wall 600 being constructed.

Prior to pouring concrete, the laid-up assembly of building modules 100, 200 is braced to keep the form securely plumb during the pouring and curing of the concrete. While no bracing is shown in FIG. 6, methods and materials for aligning and bracing concrete forms are believed to be well known to those of skill in the construction trades. Consequently, such material and methods are not further discussed herein.

Once the rebar 614 is positioned and the wall is adequately braced, concrete 618 is poured into the interior cavities of building modules 100, 200 through openings 118, 200a, 220b, 220c, and 220d.

After the concrete 618 cures, an exterior finish, typically at least some combination of building paper, Tyvek® wrap, foam insulation board, etc. 610 is covered by siding 612. In alternate construction, a masonry veneer finish (e.g., brick, stone, etc.), not shown, may be applied to the exterior face of the wall in lieu of siding 612.

Interior wall finish is typically accomplished by placing foam insulation, not shown, between the studs formed by vertical alignment braces 616. Dry wall 620 may then be applied and finished using conventional finishing techniques.

It is estimated that the R-value of the wall of FIG. 6 is approximately 30. The R-value contribution of each of the wall components is shown in Table 1.

TABLE 1
Siding with building paper,2
etc.
Outer plywood1
¾″ Air gap1
½″ foam7
Concrete1
½″ foam7
¾″ air gap1
Inner plywood1
1″ foam8
½″ air gap1
½″ drywall1
Total31

The use of novel building modules 100, 200 to construct concrete-filled walls is also environmentally advantageous. A smaller quantity of insulating foam is required to achieve a predetermined “R” value than in conventional wall construction. This results in less pollution from the foam manufacturing process and a smaller amount of scrap foam eventually reaching landfills or other disposal sites.

As shown in FIG. 1, building module 100 has a top surface 104a and a bottom surface 104b (not shown in FIG. 1) formed from a solid material such as plywood. Typically, building modules 100 are constructed at a central manufacturing facility and shipped to a building site where they are used to construct wall structures as described in detail hereinabove. The building modules 100 and 200 (FIG. 3) so formed occupy a significant volume and weight for shipping purposes.

Referring now to FIG. 7, there is shown a perspective view of a spacing bar 700 for use in assembling building modules in an alternate embodiment of the invention. By replacing solid top and bottom surfaces 104a, 104b, respectively, with spacing bars 700, the building modules 100, 200 may be shipped to a construction site in a knocked-down (KD) form and assembled at the construction site. Significant reduction of shipping expense may be achieved using this approach. Also, it is anticipated that the cost of spacing bars 700 is lest than solid top and bottom members 104a, 104b, respectively.

Spacing bars 700 are formed from sheet material formed into a U-shape having and elongated, central surface 702 and a pair of end surfaces 704, 706 perpendicular thereto. A plurality of inwardly projecting spikes 708 may be formed in central surface 702 proximate each of end surfaces 704, 706. A hole 114 is formed proximate the midpoint of central surface 702. Optionally, holes 710 may be provided in one or both of end surfaces 704, 706.

Referring now also to FIG. 8, there is shown an exploded, schematic end view of a building module 100 being formed using vertical members 102a, 102b and spacing bars 700. As may be seen, inwardly projecting spikes 708 are spaced so as to properly space apart vertical members 102a, 102b. Spikes 708a closest to respective end surfaces 706, 708 are spaced away therefrom so as to capture and outer (i.e., inwardly-facing) surface of horizontal support strips 106a, 106b at the top and bottom, respectively of vertical members 102a, 102b.

Inner spikes 708b are disposed so as to engage an edge of foam sheets 110a, 110b.

Building modules 100 or 200 may readily be assembled by selecting two vertical members 102a, 102b and positioning them as shown in FIG. 8. Spacer bars 700 are used to properly set a horizontal distance between vertical members 102a, 102b. Once spacer bars 700 are attached at both the top and bottom of vertical members 102a, 102b, screws 712 or other fasteners, not shown, may be inserted through holes 710 into a surface of vertical members 102a, 102b to retain spacer bars 700 in position.

Referring now also to FIG. 9, there is shown a top plan view of a corner building module 200′ assembled using spacer bars 700.

One additional advantage resulting from assembling the building modules 100, 200 using spacer bars 700 is that some thermal bridging from solid top and members 104a, 104b (FIG. 1) is reduced, thereby creating a wall structure having a higher overall “R” value.

It will be recognized that the length of spacer bars 700 may be varied to readily control the overall thickness of a wall constructed with building modules 100, 200.

Since other modifications and changes varied to fit particular operating requirements and environments will be apparent to those skilled in the art, the invention is not considered limited to the example chosen for purposes of disclosure, and covers all changes and modifications which do not constitute departures from the true spirit and scope of this invention.

Having thus described the invention, what is desired to be protected by Letters Patent is presented in the subsequently appended claims.